Cardinal Pell

Do you remember this YouTube Video? Have a look.

Well, the story continues. Here’s a BBC News item to follow-up on.Pope Francis is finally making a difference.

I have some worse news.

Cardinal Pell went through two potential trials. The result of the first trial was kept secret so as not to influence the second trial. The first trial was for offences a long time ago. The second trial was for covering up abuse in Australia, particularly Ballarat.

The trials were separated. I am not sure why. The second trial was delayed and eventually cancelled.

So, Cardinal Pell will probably NOT have to answer for Minchin’s (and many others) claims that he covered up abuse.

I expect him to challenge this verdict (after a sensible delay) and probably get off.

Sigh.

Continue reading

Unpleasant facts about corporations – above the law, at a price?

SNC Lavalin wanted a DPA – Deferred Prosecution Agreement. Our Prime Minister put ‘no pressure’ on our Attorney General to permit this.’Make your own decision.’

Until he demoted her from being Attorney General. She was an early indigenous example of a cabinet post. She later resigned from her lower cabinet post, apparently in protest.

DPAs are part of the UK legal landscape and they permit large corporations to pay fines – essentially to buy themselves out of legal action – while admitting no guilt. Since there is no guilt, no corporate executive goes to jail either.

DPAs are common in the USA. Corporations rarely admit guilt even when caught red-handed.

DPAs were created in Canada in 2018 by the Trudeau government. Yes, this rabbit hole was created just in time for SNC Lavalin.

The legislation was slid into an omnibus bill that was essentially financial. Some MPs were surprised, including budget ones. (See today’s Toronto Star for this one, I think David Olive.)

I used to like Justin Trudeau, but I think he blew the entire file on this one in three different directions.

SNC did, apparently, a lot of bribing in Libya. The math of this is simple: pay off a government or corporate decider to get the contract, and get the contract at a much higher price. Those paying don’t pay, either their corporations or their Government/taxpayers do;

So, you can be above the law – at a price.Right, Justin?

Promises: in Ontario

Guaranteed income experiment: Cancelled by Doug Ford.

University campuses subsidy: Cancelled by Doug Ford.

Impoverished student subsidy: Cancelled by Doug Ford, replaced by a fee cut that benefits everyone, including the rich. The poor get to borrow more, and have less time after graduating to start paying interest. Shafted by Doug Ford.

Ontario Place refreshment: about to be manipulated by Doug Ford. He’ll probably insist on a large ferris wheel. Designed by Doug Ford.

Toronto Council: Shrunk by Doug Ford, just before an election. Result: some of his opponents didn’t make it. Manipulated by Doug Ford.

He promised good government. Is that what this looks like? Promised by Doug Ford.

Trumping the Facts

Here you will find an Atlantic article on Donald Trump.

I will content myself with a small quote.

Ordinarily, a politician cannot be held responsible for the actions of a deranged follower. But ordinarily, politicians don’t praise supporters who have mercilessly beaten a Latino man, as “very passionate.” Ordinarily, they don’t offer to pay supporters’ legal bills if they assault protesters on the other side. They don’t praise acts of violence against the media. They don’t defend neo-Nazi rioters as “fine people.” They don’t justify sending bombs to their critics by blaming the media for airing criticism. Ordinarily, there is no historic surge in anti-Semitism, much of it targeted at Jewish critics, coinciding with a politician’s rise. And ordinarily, presidents do not blatantly exploit their authority in an effort to terrify white Americans into voting for their party. For the past few decades, most American politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, have taken care not to urge their supporters to take matters into their own hands. Trump did everything he could to fan the flames, and nothing to restrain those who might take him at his word.

Have a nice day.

A Tale of Two Picnics

The University of Toronto holds a picnic for alumni once each year. It is preceded by the Alumni Association’s general meeting, which is followed by a talk.

This post is really about two such talks. (The picnics were fine. The meetings were dull.)

The earlier talk was many years ago. The speaker was John Tory. The audience included some of his entourage, who tried to talk up the rest of us afterward. I was only mildly impressed by Mr. Tory. (I am less impressed by Mayor Tory now.)

The talk this year was by Jennifer Keesmat. I had researched her and expected quite a lot. I was not disappointed, more like overwhelmed.

Keesmat knows what a pleasant city should include, and how to get there from here. Keesmat understands how ‘oasis’ buildings ensure those who live there must drive to do anything but sleep. Keesmat understands what a decent mixed neighbourhood would include, and gave some examples, of good ones and bad ones.

Keesmat wants Tory’s job. I want her to get it. As for city politics and living reality, I can assure you that Keesmat gets it.

Supreme Potential Disruption

The United States’ Supreme Court consist of nine judges. They essentially can, by a decision, overrule a law (for being unconstitutional, for example) or a previous decision by a lower court.

For a quick look at the supreme court’s members you can go here.

You may remember that the POTUS, Trump, succeeded in getting a nominee onto the supreme court. A recent 5-4 decision went against public sector unions, preventing them from collecting dues from non-members who nonetheless benefited from their union’s negotiations. You can find details here.

More alarmingly, Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban just got upheld, again by 5-4. The argument was that Trump’s statements during the campaign did not constitute discriminatory intent. You can see this one here.

Trump will have another chance to ‘pack’ the supreme court as a retirement has been announced. You can read this here.

If you care about abortion law, just wait. Iowa wants detection of fetal heartbeat to be an option killer. This has been stayed. However, with the new supreme court makeup in just a few months, this could go much farther than just one state. You can read this one here.

Trump is rewriting the rules of international diplomacy. He is rewriting the rules of international trade.

Now he is rewriting rules that once were considered logical under the Constitution.

May God have mercy on us all.

 

 

Why I dislike Ann Coulter

Is actually too long for a blog entry. However

here

you will find one reason. Quoted below, emphasis as always, mine.

‘These child actors weeping and crying on all the other networks 24/7 right now — do not fall for it, Mr President,’ she warned Trump. ‘I get very nervous about the president getting his news from TV.’

Isn’t that amazing, commenting on a POTUS who puts his entire policy (retractions and all) on Twitter.

Binder Proof

Netanyahu has added gasoline to the fire on Iran. With peccable timing, he has ‘proven’ that Iran reneged on its dealings with regard to the sanctions/nuclear research agreement.

Here you will find (if you haven’t seen it already) how this proof was demonstrated. I use the word demonstrate for a reason: it’s all, imho, just pure show.

In this writing room I have a large shelf-full of binders similar to those shown by Netanyahu. I could, with a curtain and a helpful TV crew, unveil these and claim they are historical proof that Netanyahu has ordered slaughters in Palestine, mostly by bombing. If you search for ‘Israel bombs Palestine’ in YouTube you’ll see there are lots of confirming instances of my claim.

Netanyahu’s proof is simply pointing to a set of binders and claiming what is in them.

Contrarily, the inspections of Iran are surprisingly invasive, and have given the international community strong evidence that Iran is indeed fully complying with the agreement.

But, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the USA are all dead set against Iran. Thus the ‘proof’ and its acceptance by Donald Trump, POTUS.

Who would deal with this president? Expert advice goes unheeded. Deals are broken due to a publicity stunt. I guess that’s today’s dumb question.

Contra NRA

Oliver North is about to become the head of the NRA. He will be trying for even more political clout and more members, and of course, less gun control.

You can find out about that here, among other places.

Oliver North avoided jail by testifying before Congress about the scheme involving Iran and the  Contras and Nicaragua. Partly to get hostages back, US weapons were sold (illegally) to Iran. North’s brilliant addition to the scheme was to use the money (illegally) to fund the Contras operating out of Honduras against the government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. I might note that Ortega is still in power there. You can find out more about this at this page.

Allow me to pontificate / rant here for a sentence or two.

One is not offered immunity from prosecution, nor does one need to accept it, if one is innocent. I can be forgiven for considering North to be a self-demonstrated criminal.

It was North who advised the Contras, to be more successful in their incursions into Nicaragua, to hit ‘soft targets:’ hospitals, markets, and schools. These tactics continue to be used today, for example in Syria and Yemen.

The NRA has made an ‘interesting’ choice of leader. North is media-famous and clearly a weapons hawk. Just what we need, after the Florida school shooting: contra-publicity for the NRA.